Remains at Finca del Secretario. / SUR

The Scandinavian connection

On 4 February 2022 the municipality of Fuengirola was 180 years old. This series reviews the rich history of the location, from prehistory to the founding of the modern municipality

PATRICK H. MEEHAN

Fuengirola, especially Los Boliches and Los Pacos, is the second and first home of many Scandinavian people.

The term Scandinavian refers to people from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and more broadly Finland and Iceland.

  • Patrick H. Meehan, author of Fuengirola Revisited, will be signing books and answering questions at the British Caseta in the Fuengirola Feria International de los Países between 3pm and 6pm each day. For more information about Fuengirola history visit www.fuengirolarevisited.com and you can follow @fuengirolarevisited on Facebook.

Their presence here is not new; they are descendants of a people who ruled this land for two centuries between the Romans leaving and the Moors arriving.

The (short) story

The northern expansion of the Roman Empire was halted by the Vandals, a Germanic tribe from Vendel, a province in Uppland, Sweden.

They chased the war-weary legions back to Rome and proceeded to take their territories.

In the decades between the Romans leaving and the Vandals arriving, North African raiders would pillage what remained of Roman Suel.

By 470AD a power struggle with a second Germanic tribe, the Visigoth, expelled the Vandals from the Peninsula.

The great weather event of 536AD created the deluge that buried ancient Suel and only a fraction of it has since been found.

In 552AD The Byzantine Empire, from modern-day Turkey, invaded Malaga and ruled most of current Andalucía for just ten years until the Visogoths retook the land.

Some fragments of wine jars of the Byzantine period have been found among local ruins.

The Visigoths would rule most of the Iberian Peninsula for another century and a half as they changed from plunderers to sophisticated Teutonic Christians.

They could never compete with the Romans in building and left few clues as to their time in the location of Fuengirola.

At the Finca del Secretario there is evidence of the site being used for burial pits, but the most significant is at the Termas de Torreblanca.

When building the N340 in the early 1960s, a cemetery was discovered dating from the Visigoth period.

The 1980s excavation revealed foundations of a Christian church built on Roman baths with sixth-century tombstones.

Grave goods and other nearby finds include an oil lamp, ceramics and sixth-century coins from around the Mediterranean.

Visigoth rule would end in defeat and expulsion in 710AD when the Moors arrived to rule this country for seven centuries.

Iberian and Scandinavian history would follow different paths, until they extended Malaga airport in the 1960s giving easy access to this ancient homeland.

Since then, either ambience, weather or perhaps an ancestral call has brought them back as welcome visitors, residents, neighbours and friends.